Inspiring educational innovations: HELHa and Cégeps forge dynamic partnerships

From 13 to 17 May 2024, Anne Delangre, coordinator of student services, and Romain Faraone, educational advisor, were warmly welcomed by two Cégeps in Montreal (Montmorency and Maisonneuve). The visit was part of a series of exchanges between HELHa and Cégeps that have been ongoing for the past year. This partnership started with the hosting of a delegation in Mons in October 2023. The mission provided an opportunity to focus on two themes shared by each of the partners: support for students and their integration into the institution on the one hand, and mastery of French as a language of learning on the other. The HELHa and the Cégeps are faced with the same challenges and target the same type of public.

Comprehensive student support beyond academics

Once the effects of jet lag had faded, we were once again stunned by the resources deployed to offer students support that goes beyond the mere sphere of studies. The College is a real place to live, with its sports facilities, its guide dog designed to ease social contact, its ‘inclusive’ examination rooms equipped with special equipment and anti-noise headphones…. The 7,000 students of Collège Montmorency attend the same place, which then takes on the appearance of a village.

Throughout their studies, young people are welcomed, listened to, guided and directed by a team of educational advisers, social workers and psychologists. The Cégeps believe that quality work can only be done in a spirit of well-being, and promote the integration of each profile into the educational community. These practices echo many of the initiatives put in place at HELHa. Longer-term partnerships could extend this sharing of practices and enthusiasm.

Innovative approaches to student engagement

When we arrived, at the start of the exam session, we met a ‘happiness merchant’ teacher. His role? Transporting a trolley through the corridors to distribute coffee and snacks to students busy revising their lessons. Another cart, one that allows each teacher to offer tools for inclusion within their class (anti-stress ball, large sheets, timer…).

Quebec attaches great importance to developing skills in the language of learning. For this reason, each Cégep has a French help centre (CAF). These centres offer invaluable support to students. Whether on a one-off basis, for writing a piece of work, or on a more in-depth, four-term basis, the CAFs offer tailor-made support. They help to make tutoring more dynamic and significantly improve young people’s commitment to their studies.

Published on 20 June 2024